Life’s journey is filled with unexpected twists and turns, molding us into the resilient individuals we are meant to become. In a recent interview with Lindsay Jurist-Rosner, the CEO and founder of Wellthy, we delved into the transformative experiences that shaped her path.
From a childhood split between coasts due to her parents’ divorce to the emotional struggles of caring for a mother with multiple sclerosis, Lindsay’s story is one of strength, resilience, and the pursuit of a higher purpose.
Childhood: A Tale of Two Coasts
Lindsay’s childhood was marked by the challenges of navigating life between two coasts. Her parents’ divorce at a young age meant splitting time between Philadelphia and Seattle, earning her the frequent flyer status before most kids even entered school.
The uncertainties of the divorce, coupled with her mother’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis when she was nine, laid the foundation for Lindsay’s resilience and grit. The hardships of divorce and her mother’s health struggles became formative experiences for Lindsay.
Lindsay found strength in the face of adversity, using her experiences to build grit and a determination to make her parents proud, forging a unique path that differed from a more stable upbringing.
Academic Pursuits: Navigating the Urban Jungle
Choosing to study economics at Columbia University, Lindsay embraced her love for big cities. Her time at Columbia was a journey of self-discovery, providing her with a general business understanding that would later prove invaluable in her versatile career.
Lindsay’s focus on numbers and the business side of things set the stage for a future marked by impactful roles, including her time at Microsoft. Her career has been characterized by her passion for marketing and sales, components that she always found fascinating.
From her experiences at Microsoft to her role at Wellthy, she found joy in being at the forefront of business, solving problems for clients, and driving the success of startups. The challenges of working in a massive corporation like Microsoft equipped her with the skills needed to later reverse engineer her path, starting Wellthy from scratch.
A Secret Double Life: Balancing Work and Caregiving
Lindsay’s personal journey took an unexpected turn when her mother’s condition worsened. In her twenties, Lindsay moved back home to care for her mother, creating a secret double life that was both challenging and emotionally overwhelming.
Things came to a head when her mother needed a special procedure and Lindsay realized she would have to miss the finals of her business school. When Lindsay shared her challenges with her teachers, colleagues, friends, and peers, she found that they were also dealing with such problems of their own.
The experience of caregiving, often kept private, led Lindsay to a profound realization of the lack of support and infrastructure for those facing similar challenges.
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Entrepreneurial Journey: From Microsoft to Wellthy
Inspired by the need to address caregiving challenges, Lindsay’s journey into entrepreneurship took time to incubate. Despite buying the domain name Wellthy.com in 2009, it took six years for her to gather the courage to pursue her passion full-time.
Lindsay’s entrepreneurial path was paved with lessons in preparation, mentorship, and gaining the confidence needed to take the leap. She talks about how women are always hesitant about taking promotions and bigger steps since they prefer to be sure they can pull it off.
Before starting Wellthy, Lindsay went to work with Dave Morgan, a successful serial entrepreneur, who would become her mentor. She wanted to learn more about how CEOs function and took a job as the head of marketing.
Soon, Lindsay assumed a chief of staff role running the executive team meetings, an exercise that built up her confidence. When she was ready to move on, Dave offered to keep her on his payroll for a couple of months and give her a head start. That was just the encouragement and motivation she needed to strike out on her own.
On Dave’s advice, Lindsay embarked on a six to eight months learning discovery mode where she spent time talking to people to understand everything she could about the caregiving industry. She recalls spending a lot of time interacting with professors, CEOs, investors, and people on all sides of the ecosystem.
Lindsay also dived into books on how the health care system works since she was fully aware that all her experience was only hands-on and not professional knowledge.
Breaking Gender Barriers: Challenges of a Female Founder
As a female founder in a predominantly male-dominated field, Lindsay faced unique challenges in the early days of building Wellthy. Tackling a business that primarily addressed something perceived as a women’s issue–caregiving–made it difficult for traditional male investors to relate.
However, Lindsay’s perseverance, coupled with the demonstration of Wellthy’s growth and impact, eventually turned the tide, showcasing that success knows no gender.
Mission-Driven Impact: Raising Awareness for the Care Economy
Wellthy’s journey goes beyond business success; it aims to raise awareness about the care economy—an underserved $6 trillion industry 6 times the size of the pharmaceutical industry. Lindsay and her team strive to highlight the societal impact of caregiving challenges, emphasizing the need for support and infrastructure.
By addressing this larger caregiving issue, Wellthy is not just a business; it’s a mission-driven endeavor with the potential to create meaningful change. It is a care concierge or a virtual delivery model for supporting families with complex chronic and ongoing care.
Wellthy’s business model is about helping families understand and navigate the complexity of healthcare, encompassing child care and senior care. They are a caregiving concierge helping people by informing them about their options like finding in-home aides or moving their loved ones to a long-term care facility, and getting personal one-on-one support to navigate insurance options, find providers, and schedule appointments for their loved ones or even themselves.
Wellthy partners with employers and health insurance companies. Companies cover the costs of Wellthy as an employee benefit so they can set up the infrastructure to care for sick family members. Resolving their complex caregiving issues allows them to focus more on work, miss fewer days or meetings because of caregiving responsibilities at home, and ultimately, prevent attrition.
Future Aspirations: A Vision for Inclusive Care
Looking ahead, Lindsay envisions a future where everyone has access to a care solution like Wellthy. The goal is to create a support system similar to public defenders in the legal system, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their financial status, can navigate complex care situations with guidance and assistance.
As Lindsay points out, raising awareness of the urgency of building a care ecosystem is crucial. The US will be seeing massive demographic shifts in the next several years and decades. The aging population is living longer than ever before with more complicated care needs. However, the supply of care providers and professionals to support this massive aging population is shrinking.
Wellthy has raised just under $80M in a series B funding round. Lindsay talks about getting backing from a “diverse and wonderful set of investors, institutional investors, angels, and some strategics as well.”
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Work-Life Balance: Nurturing Both Family and Business
Navigating the delicate balance between being a wife, mother, and CEO is no small feat. Lindsay acknowledges the challenge and emphasizes the importance of fiercely protecting her time. While she may work fewer hours, the impact is substantial, allowing for higher-quality work.
Family and friends play a crucial role in maintaining a fulfilling life outside of work, providing a valuable perspective on what truly matters. Reflecting on her journey, Lindsay acknowledges the lessons learned.
She advises her younger self not to sweat the small stuff, emphasizing the importance of thicker skin and a focus on the bigger picture. The inevitable ups and downs of entrepreneurship become more manageable with time and perspective, allowing for a calmer and steadier approach to the challenges that arise.
Lindsay Jurist-Rosner’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of resilience, determination, and a commitment to a higher purpose. From navigating the complexities of childhood and caregiving to building a groundbreaking company like Wellthy, Lindsay’s story inspires us to embrace life’s challenges and find strength in the pursuit of our passions.
As she continues to lead Wellthy on its mission-driven path, Lindsay invites us all to reconsider the societal impact of caregiving and work towards a future where support and assistance are accessible to everyone, regardless of their circumstances.
Listen to the full podcast episode to know more, including:
- A childhood split between coasts due to the parents’ divorce, instilled resilience, shaping her into a strong and adaptable individual.
- Challenges, including her mother’s multiple sclerosis diagnosis, fueled Lindsay’s grit and determination, driving her to succeed against life’s uncertainties.
- The love for big cities led to studying economics at Columbia, providing a versatile business understanding that laid the foundation for her impactful career.
- Her passion for marketing has been consistent through line in her career, from roles at Microsoft to founding and leading Wellthy.
- The secret double life as a caregiver to her mother highlighted the unspoken challenges of balancing personal responsibilities with professional aspirations.
- The entrepreneurial journey, from buying the domain name in 2009 to founding Wellthy, exemplifies the courage needed to pursue a personal mission against societal norms.